A bean supper is said to be a traditional Saturday-night meal in New England, but St. Paul’s Union Chapel is having one on Thursday, June 29 in what once served as a one-room schoolhouse on Dutch Neck Road in Waldoboro and attendees will be having more than beans.
Some say the bean supper concept started around the time of the American Revolution to honor George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge who only had beans and sausages to eat. However, no one can recall someone standing up at a bean supper and proposing a moment of silence to honor Washington’s great boys. Another story says it started with the pilgrims, when cooking on the Sabbath was prohibited, so the beans were baked the night before. But that doesn’t explain why it was eaten on Saturday night. It may have simply begun because it was a practical Yankee way of making a little go a long way — in other words, the beans were cheap.
The suppers are often held as fundraisers and this one is to help with the preservation of St. Paul’s Union Chapel and the adjacent Dutch Neck Schoolhouse. Making the supper a little more “Downeast” and coastal, in addition to the home-baked beans, there will be lobster-and-haddock stew, clam soufflé, and chicken casserole, along with salads, homemade desserts, and beverages. There will be two seatings, at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for members of St. Paul’s Chapel Society, $12 for nonmembers, and $8 for children under 10. Memberships will be available at the door.
St. Paul’s Union Chapel was erected in 1885 by residents of Dutch Neck. The one-room Dutch Neck Schoolhouse was built in 1883 and served the children of Dutch Neck until the mid-1940s. The newly restored chapel and the school house are now a community resource for events. There is a weekly nondenominational silent worship on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. On Saturday, July 8, the Ale House String Band will play traditional tunes and covers of popular folk music in its “chamber folk,” style. See the events calendar at facebook.com/stpaulsunionchapel/?rc=p.
The chapel will also be open during the supper for those who would like to view this historic building.
St. Paul’s Union Chapel is located at 1055 Dutch Neck Road, Waldoboro. For more information, call 832-7535.